Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Necessary Evil

Even before man developed civilization, flooding was a problem. However, in nature flooding is necessary. It is nature’s way of:

Filtering out sediment and pollutants from surface run-off by dispersing it over larger area.
Slowing down the speed of run-off allowing it to soak down into the ground. This recharges the groundwater which modern man depends heavily on for potable water.

The area round a waterway that is prone to flooding is called the flood plain or riparian zone. It usually supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. How large an area this zone covers is determined by the slope of the land. Marshes and swamps, commonly now referred to as wetlands, also are part of nature’s system in controlling water flow. They act like sponges and filters and are virtual grocery stores and nurseries for wildlife. When man chooses to build within or alter these wetlands, inevitably there are consequences. Flood plains, marshes and swamps were made to flood. As we learn every spring, man’s control over them is limited. (Photo: Mopus Brook, Ridgefield in flood)

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